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Sail Date: May 2019
Choose the Star Pride predominately for the race and then the wonderful different ports of call. Food was some of the best cruise food ever and the staff were wonderful. The rooms are a good size, but don't bother with the balcony ... Read More
Choose the Star Pride predominately for the race and then the wonderful different ports of call. Food was some of the best cruise food ever and the staff were wonderful. The rooms are a good size, but don't bother with the balcony upgrade. The size of the ship makes it easy to get around without needing a map. If you get the opportunity check out the bridge when it is open as the crew is very informative about the ship and navigation. All the staff are very friendly and a joy to be around. The dinner selections are excellent and it feels like you are dining in a five star restaurant. Before buying the drink package take into consideration your on board credit as well as how much you plan on drinking, we skipped the package and didn't come close to using our credit. Same for the wi-fi package it was easy to find free hot spots at each port of call to catch-up and send photos. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
The staff were very attentive and accommodating. Most took the time to learn your name. We had a State Room which was spacious and comfortable. A definite plus on a smaller ship which doesn't have a lot of public areas. Ship was ... Read More
The staff were very attentive and accommodating. Most took the time to learn your name. We had a State Room which was spacious and comfortable. A definite plus on a smaller ship which doesn't have a lot of public areas. Ship was very clean and you noticed the effort to keep it that way.The excursions were interesting and efficient. There was a problem with the air conditioning. State rooms could be ice cold or uncomfortably warm. The Veranda was most always too warm to sit and enjoy a meal. At the beginning of the cruise the Yacht Club was ice cold and then after complaints it became too warm....no ability to really regulate the temperature. Food was ok. A couple of nights were very good. Seemed to be a lack of vegetables with the dinners and the quality of fruit was disappointing given our location. If you are Gluten free, you should bring your own bread, crackers, cereal, and snacks. They did have non-wheat pasta and you could get gf sliced bread for dinner, but they ran out after the second night. We've only done a few other cruises, but they seemed to have a larger variety for people with wheat allergies. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We had the pleasure of attending a private Indian wedding as set up on this cruise The Indian food menu was “out of this world” and the chef-Nilesh -truly went above and beyond to present us with delicious and different menus every ... Read More
We had the pleasure of attending a private Indian wedding as set up on this cruise The Indian food menu was “out of this world” and the chef-Nilesh -truly went above and beyond to present us with delicious and different menus every single day! The bar and restaurant crew were outstanding and taking care of our every request To our pleasant surprise the crew gave us an entertainment nite to be part of and have real fun! Every whim was taken care of!! I only wish that there had been a larger pool though the ocean was there too! Every island we docked on had such unique offerings that we wished we had more time to explore all Lastly the beach barbecue on the private island topped it all with the activities one could do all day long We will definitely set the sails with this cruiser in the future! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
How many other small ship cruise lines provide these cabin offerings? If you're looking for a small ship cruise line, Windstar Star Pride should be a ship to consider. The 'standard' cabins are BIG in comparison to ... Read More
How many other small ship cruise lines provide these cabin offerings? If you're looking for a small ship cruise line, Windstar Star Pride should be a ship to consider. The 'standard' cabins are BIG in comparison to others. Additionally plenty of space for ALL of your clothes. Having a sitting area with two chairs and a couch is a benefit. For relaxing. For morning breakfast. The boat offers many places to relax. Up at the bow in the yacht club. In the aft in one or two different lounges. The food is very very good. Quality offerings especially at dinner time. Fresh fish. Fresh vegetables. Great flavor combinations. Yummy desserts. And the wine pairings are perfect. Best of all is the staff/crew. Everyone is well trained in genuine service with a genuine smile. Not stuffy at all. The crew talent show shouldn't be missed. It brings a very big smile. There is a very concerted attempt for the crew to get to know passengers. By name. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We recently took the the new concept cruise “back to back” (14 days) with Windstar Cruises on the Wind Surf. It appears that this will be successful for Windstar Cruises because over half the passengers stayed on for two weeks. After ... Read More
We recently took the the new concept cruise “back to back” (14 days) with Windstar Cruises on the Wind Surf. It appears that this will be successful for Windstar Cruises because over half the passengers stayed on for two weeks. After flying long distances it is great to be able to stay for an extended time. It felt like time was much slower. This cruise was perfect for us in every way. This was our 22 cruise with Windstar Cruises we are obviously fans. Having said that I have to state that she , Wind Surf, is a beautiful “old lady”, high maintenance yes but absolutely beautifully maintained. Her interiors are modern, bright and cheery,immaculate in every way. Because she is a motor sailing ship there is a tremendous amout of outside space to enjoy the ship. Both weeks she was neary full at at no time did we feel there were 300 people onboard. There was always space to find sun and shade, space for privacy, your very own nook, and space to meet friendly people and have a refreshing rum punch. She was fitted with new sails so the sail aways were great with bright white new sails being unfurled as we listened to the signature music. For this cruise I have to say that of all the cruises we have been on with Windstar the food and dining was the best. I know food, the science behind it, how it is prepared, adventurous eaters, etc. Every evening we were WOWed by the dinners in the Amphora, Candles and Stella Bistro. Stella was authentic French, Candles under stars, dreamy romantic, Amphora simply lovely, and in all restaurants all meats were perfectly prepared, the fish was never dry and my favorite the lobster bisque the real thing! The Veranda for lunch great salads and if you are late for lunch the sandwiches in the Yacht Club fantastic. Afternoon tea terrific little finger sandwiches and scones with real clotted crean. Breakfast, not my meal, good fresh fruit, eggs made to order, excellent granola and freshly squeezed orange juice. In all past cruises we really never ate the bread because that is where I am a complete food snob but whoever the baker was the breads were fantastic especially the Italian bread sticks, perfect. The breads were never soggy from the saltly, humid, sea air. I know that food is very subjective but this was our take. Service perfect as usual, always above and beyond. Captain Hogan ran a happy ship. James, the nightly host and excursions manager, from Scotland, was absolutely terrific. His nightly talks were informative but full of great humor. He was so enjoyable. Housekeeping perfect from our cabins, public rooms and bathrooms, restaurants etc. For having to really revamp and move the cruise due to the hurricane Windstar did a great job. A mixture of culturally interesting, great beaches and beautiful scenery. We could not get into Monserrat due to 7-10 foot sea swells so instead we went into Antiqua, not too shabby! Our sail by the Pitons of St. Lucia was extraordinary not only the landscapes but the many sailboats and a clipper ship in full sail all sailing in front of the Pitons showing the reflections of their shadows. It seemed every afternoon around 4 we had a rain shower followed by a rainbow and then followed by red sunsets. Magical Great cruise, looking forward to our next. For good reason we are happy customers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
Great experience last year on Windstar Pride, wanted to try the sailing ship. Took two back to back cruises, starting in Lisbon, joining another in Dublin, ending in Edinburgh. Just fabulous cabins, bathrooms, great dining, good music in ... Read More
Great experience last year on Windstar Pride, wanted to try the sailing ship. Took two back to back cruises, starting in Lisbon, joining another in Dublin, ending in Edinburgh. Just fabulous cabins, bathrooms, great dining, good music in lounge, interesting historical lectures by a very informed historian. Wonderful service and extremely friendly and kind crew. Captain always actively engaged with passengers. Ability of all to remember passenger names was astounding and never experienced on any other line. Mixed age groupings, kids with grandparents and so forth, and younger crowd than Vantage or Viking get made it nice too. Ship is gorgeous under sail. We had foggy conditions and missed one port of call but no one seemed to mind and felt securely cared for by the senior staff and crew. Great land excursions, though somewhat expensive. Wonderful cruise director, who was very caring with anyone who was unsteady or needed extra time. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This was our first cruise on such a small ship. We have previously sailed on large megaships with Holland America, Princess and Celebrity and found Windstar to be far superior for experienced travelers who enjoy adventure and more unique ... Read More
This was our first cruise on such a small ship. We have previously sailed on large megaships with Holland America, Princess and Celebrity and found Windstar to be far superior for experienced travelers who enjoy adventure and more unique ports. The Tahiti ports are the south seas paradises we dreamed of and more than lived up to our expectations when we booked. They are still relatively unspoiled by hordes of tourists and far more relaxing than Hawaii. The food on Windstar was outstanding and there were no upcharges for specialty restaurants. The staff were uniformly professional and friendly and the food was far better than that we experienced on mass market cruiselines. My only caveats are that Windstar is not well suited for families sailing with children, elderly people with mobility issues and party people. Independent adults and couples looking for a very relaxing vacation will find Windstar to be an ideal and adventurous escape. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This was such a magical cruise! Totally amazing look at the island nation of Tahiti.It truly enriched our lives. The food was top notch and we have cruised and traveled the entire world. It's a nice small ship where you get to know ... Read More
This was such a magical cruise! Totally amazing look at the island nation of Tahiti.It truly enriched our lives. The food was top notch and we have cruised and traveled the entire world. It's a nice small ship where you get to know everyone, crew and fellow passengers. We saw 6 or 7 islands Bora Bora and Huahine being my favorite.The crew couldn't have been better. Rina and Natasha at the front desk were SO NICE and helpful they knew everyone's names. They deserve a raise! Captain Ned and first mate were the most personable officers I have ever meet on a cruise, loved them. The excursions were to die for. Loved the floating mats off the back of the boat when we stopped. Dody my room steward (room 104) kept or room immaculate at all times. The crew on this ship made this cruise they were the best of any cruise I have ever taken. Just loved this cruise. They do need new mattresses in the cabins. I hope that is part of the refurb they are about to do. If you want to do Tahiti this is the way to go, even better then staying a week in Bora Bora. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2017
After our experience with UNPROFESSIONAL and uncharming service in The House Hotel in Barbados we enjoyed the so well trained and friendly service of the windstar crew!!!!!- just perfect! The cabin was well kept and clean. Breakfast, ... Read More
After our experience with UNPROFESSIONAL and uncharming service in The House Hotel in Barbados we enjoyed the so well trained and friendly service of the windstar crew!!!!!- just perfect! The cabin was well kept and clean. Breakfast, lunch or dinner were always phantastic and it´s great to have breakfast or lunch or dinner sitting outside in the deckchairs on the veranda while You watch the sea. The captain - Melinda ist charming and knows her job as do the other members of the crew. We can´t say much about the entertainment or the off shore tours because we had been on a private cruise. It was a wonderful first experience even we had often rain and the sea was quite rocky for february, but I do hope that we will sail again with the Windstar and Melinda in the Mediterranean or Sweden and Norway or the baltic!!! Thank You all! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
So many positives on this cruise. The food was fantastic, the crew exceptional and the ship beautiful. I have cruised over 15 times and on this one I brought three other couples. We all agreed the cruise was top rate, The entertainment ... Read More
So many positives on this cruise. The food was fantastic, the crew exceptional and the ship beautiful. I have cruised over 15 times and on this one I brought three other couples. We all agreed the cruise was top rate, The entertainment on deck was perfect. Two issues. On our day we docked in Puerto Rico the boats pool and top deck were closed. The reason was unclear as some said normal maintanance and others said to prepare for an inspection. It was very hot so one day of our cruise was eliminated by these closures. We were forced into an itinerary. We went to the Bicardi Rum factory which was nice and the shop charged 95 dollars a person. When we arrived we saw the tour we took was 15 per person. A cab would have been a total of 20 This was disturbing. Otherwise an A plus cruise which I would strongly reccomend. One couple paid half what we paid as they booked late. Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
It was always my dream to cruise the Tahitian islands and it was my chance to try the Windstar Cruise Line. I was not disappointed in taking this cruise! I have limited experience in cruising, having only been on an Oceania Cruise before ... Read More
It was always my dream to cruise the Tahitian islands and it was my chance to try the Windstar Cruise Line. I was not disappointed in taking this cruise! I have limited experience in cruising, having only been on an Oceania Cruise before this. I think Oceana sets a high bar and this cruise met that bar. The cabins on the Wind Spirit are all the same size. There is a price difference between level 1 and level 2 and cabins in the mid-ship. I do not see any real difference in these cabins other than a few extra stairs and the water level outside your 2 port holes. I would avoid cabins 205, 207 and 209, which are right by the tinder. The people in the cabins will look out at the tinder but to be honest, can't say when I was on the tinder, that I could see in these cabins. The cabins had a ton of storage. Sufficient hanging space, 4 drawers and more under the seats of the banquette. Shelves in the bathroom both above the sink area and below. There were shelves next to the bed for night reading and other items. Outlets were US compatible. The TV in the room was adequate. There were a variety of movies that played during the week and a ton of DVDs in the library. We only watched the news when getting ready for the day. We had a standing order of coffee delivered each morning, which was wonderful. The breakfast had a nice buffet as well as different al a cart items each day. I only had lunch a few times but it also had a changing buffet and al a cart items. Dinner in the dining room was fabulous each evening we ate there. For one evening we had a buffet on a motu- good food, another, a BBQ on deck which also had good food. Candles was an option for one evening and it good as well. We heard from others they had a great meal at Candles, but our steaks were a little tough. We ordered room service on the pool deck a few times and once in the room. The staff was wonderful and accommodating. Everyone was cheerful, went out of their way to be helpful and extremely polite. They knew our names by the first evening! Several of the wait staff were more than welcoming and were more like friends by the end of the cruise. We can not say enough about the level of service on this ship! Embarkation was quick and easy. The work out room was really small and a little warm. There was yoga and stretching on the upper deck each morning. Snorkel gear is available for use for the week, just go to the marina to check out the items. You can kayak, swim or SUP from the back of the ship. You can also use these items from the motus in Ta'haa and Bora Bora. You can not use these from the ship when it is docked in Raiatea. I used the ship's excursions for a discovery dive in Raiatea and a snorkel safari, as well as a catamaran tour in Bora Bora. The other excursions I booked myself directly with the tour companies. I used Marc's Combo Tour in Huahine, Francky Franck's in Moorea, We took a taxi bus for an island tour on Bora Bora. We also did an impromptu boat tour of the river in Raiatea. We stayed at the Intercontinental pre and post cruise. There is more rocking in this sailboat than the larger ships. I was on a relatively small ship on Oceania, the Regatta, but it had much less rocking than this ship. If you have sea sickness, be sure to bring your meds. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We chose this cruise because of the date, destination and my birthday. Our documentation stated the cruise left from Edinburg and the address on the ticket was for Edinburgh; however, when we gave our ticket and documentation to the cab ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the date, destination and my birthday. Our documentation stated the cruise left from Edinburg and the address on the ticket was for Edinburgh; however, when we gave our ticket and documentation to the cab driver, he took us to the port. When we arrived, we had to find a harbor master to locate ship-then we discovered we were to leave from Dundee. 75 miles away! We were lucky, our driver could take us and we arrived just in time to leave-$290.00 later!! We called the "emergency numbers 3 times-no one returned our phone calls-so don't bother calling them!! Our cabin lacked furniture by the bed and we had to charge phones, iPad and lay them on the floor with reading glasses and other nighttime things! First day, excursions were in chaos and we waited over an hour for the buses to arrive!! First day, we had booked an excursion to see a castle with falconry demonstration. Our guide decided we need to be back early 3 hours for lunch??) so she cut the trip short!! She treated us like we were small children and regaled us with stories of her teaching " dumb" royalty in a private school. The special exhibit for this trip was watching a high school band perform. Seriously!! A part of that trip-we were taken to a battleground with a nice Visitor's center-BUT! Our same guide did not let us go inside!! Instead she led us outside and lectured for 30 minutes! Guess she knew more than the historians!! When we returned, Windstar was contacted-which acted like all was our fault because we were ignorant and did not read our documentation! We are two doctors who travel a great deal and were insulted! We spent 4 days pre cruise in Edinburh-thank goodness-on our own or I do not know I'd we could have seen the city. Their excuse, we did not pay their transportation fee to port! And did not stay at their hotel. We stayed at a beautiful Trip Advisor boutique hotel which we loved!! We were less than impressed with Windstar-this was our second-had it been our first-it would have been our last!!after they have your $$, you are totally written off!! Trying to communicate with their staff before we left was a nightmare as well!! Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This is the first cruise that we have taken in the last ten years that did not include shore excursions, wine, and Wi-Fi in the cruise price. This was a very poor value! We booked our own shore excursions at less than half of the ... Read More
This is the first cruise that we have taken in the last ten years that did not include shore excursions, wine, and Wi-Fi in the cruise price. This was a very poor value! We booked our own shore excursions at less than half of the Windstar rate for the same tours. The "private event" was very poor - the "magnificent" caves were hardly that. Embarkation and disembarkation were poorly organized. The first notice that we received about the transfer to the ship for embarkation included instructions on transfer to the airport instead. We had to wait one hour after disembarkation in order to finally get a taxi after the cruise director had assured us that taxis would be available. The food was generally mediocre. Ordering ala carte items at breakfast generally resulted in extremely long waits for the food and/or not receiving what was ordered. The "seafood extravaganza" barbecue was very poor. The seafood was not fresh - crab claws were still partially frozen and the chef indicated that the lobster was from Maine. Really? These were the small 3 oz lobsters that can be purchased in the grocery store. Public announcements from the captain were audible in both the cabins and public areas but cruise director announcements were only audible in public areas. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
I had a wonderful experience on the Wind Spirit in 2014 going through the Panama Canal. When Windstar advertised a trip to the Italian and French Riviera, stopping for the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, I was all in. Expensive, but I expected ... Read More
I had a wonderful experience on the Wind Spirit in 2014 going through the Panama Canal. When Windstar advertised a trip to the Italian and French Riviera, stopping for the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, I was all in. Expensive, but I expected it would be worth it. It wasn't. We were on the Star Breeze, one of the three ships they purchased from another cruise company. The room was nice, but the ship is poorly managed, poorly maintained and just not a place you want to be. The officers don't care and make excuses for their failings. Food service is a disaster, tender service is worse. We paid a lot of money ($15,000 for a couple before shore excursions) for a luxury cruise that we did not get. Food was mediocre, availability limited and service very disorganized (other than the lady in the "Yacht Club" where you could get sandwiches and snacks - she was phenomenal!). Tender service was a joke. Poor operation, long waits, rocky rides, crash landings. Rarely anyone on the dock to assist you. We had a pre-arranged, all passengers invited dinner part at the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo. When we returned on the bus (arranged 100% by Windstar), there were no tenders to take us to our ship. More than enough to take passengers to the Wind Surf (a sister ship of the original sailing type), but 100 or more of us were stranded in fancy clothes, cold weather, at 11:30 pm. Finally a 24 person tender arrived. I was on the first tender, but I understand that it took more than an hour to get everyone back to the ship. No one from our ship came to help, by the way. We were assisted by the Wind Surf's Hotel Manager. There were many maintenance issues, the staff was nice by untrained, and the officers were unhelpful and largely disinterested. When things did not go well, it was someone else's fault. When we disembarked in Nice (and we were SO READY to disembark) it seemed orderly until we got out and realized everyone that had preceded us to the dock to get their luggage was still there - no ground transportation was available. It took about 90 minutes to get 100 or so people into cabs or vans. We were simply going to a hotel, so it was not such a big deal. But many people were concerned about missing flights or were just unhappy with this final coup de grace. Importantly, the Hotel Manager and other officers were rather disinterested. They passed out water bottles but, par for the course with this ship, took no effort to solve the problems. Fortunately, a couple of energetic young women made continuous phone calls and finally got everyone off of the dock. But it was just a fitting end to an otherwise poorly managed, chaotic, amateurish cruise experience. Avoid this cruise ship. Growing pains is one thing. This is a cultural faux pas. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our 5th cruise on the Wind Surf, 7th on Windstar ships. This cruise was not on our radar until Windstar announced the partnership with the James Beard Foundation for what was to become a truly memorable food and wine experience. ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise on the Wind Surf, 7th on Windstar ships. This cruise was not on our radar until Windstar announced the partnership with the James Beard Foundation for what was to become a truly memorable food and wine experience. This was the first of three scheduled JBF cruises and exceeded all expectations. I think it exceeded those of the JBF representatives and the Windstar staff as well. In addition to the 7 ports that we would visit after leaving Lisbon, we had nightly tastings of Spanish wines that were poured and examined at length by Sommelier Steve Olson. He is known as "the wine geek" for good reason. Besides 3 full glass "tastings" each evening, the wines of the night were then served at no charge with dinner. Some of the wines are available in my local stores for upwards of $75 per bottle; some we can't even get here. Then the food! Our chef was Michel Nischan, a three time James Beard awarding winning chef. He had presentations, classes, and shopping tours for guests. There was a final dinner that Chef Michel, Steve Olson, and the Windstar corporate chef collaborated on that was beyond belief. The representative from the JBF left the day before the cruise ended to get to JBF annual awards in Chicago. These guys were personable, approachable, and seemed to be having the time of their lives along with their families. A true once in a lifetime experience for us. As for the rest of the review, it is not possible to find fault with the spectacular Windstar staff, the cleanliness of the ship, the officers availability and the overall willingness to do whatever it takes. We were so happy to see old crew members who are like a big family to one another and to us. The ports on this itinerary were okay; nothing that I was particularly excited about, but interesting and each one different. Lisbon and Barcelona, of course, are two of the great cities of Europe and we were thrilled with each. We did mostly private tours and enjoyed each port. Lots of Roman ruins, etc. One port, Ibiza, has the Sa Cova winery (like we needed more wine) that was lovely and in the same family since the 1500's. Almeria is a seaport that is next to desert sites where many famous movies were filmed, from Lawrence of Arabia, to Exodus, to the spaghetti westerns. All and all, a really memorable 8 days that we will think and talk about for years to come. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
During the end of September 2015 and the first week of October we were part of this fantasy. What a beautiful ship!! Everyone one the ship went out of their way to make our stay one to remember. We met so many new friends. We would party ... Read More
During the end of September 2015 and the first week of October we were part of this fantasy. What a beautiful ship!! Everyone one the ship went out of their way to make our stay one to remember. We met so many new friends. We would party until late at night. We would listen to music, and may I add...the duo Casey and Erick were stunning. Man...what a lovely voice. Cannot believe SA Idols let her slip through their hands. If ever you come across them, ask them to do Purple Rain and Bed of Roses. They absolutely made our tour. Well done Windstar!! Let me also not forget Harry our waiter at the restaurants. What a guy. The whole ship was talking about him. He should be the communications leader. He was witty, quick to assist, quick to let you feel welcome and even special. The rooms were excellent. Enough space and what a big bathroom. I am a big, very big guy and did not have any problem at all in the shower. The food at all the restaurants were superb. We will be going again and again and again...this I promised myself. I stayed in Room 243. When that door was closed during day or night it was peaceful and quiet. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We just returned from the Tobin James Wine Cruise aboard the Windsurf. I've travelled on many ships in the past but the service on this particular cruise far exceeded my expectations. The cabins for such a small ship are unusually ... Read More
We just returned from the Tobin James Wine Cruise aboard the Windsurf. I've travelled on many ships in the past but the service on this particular cruise far exceeded my expectations. The cabins for such a small ship are unusually large, and although there are no balcony cabins you don't miss it. We especially enjoyed the DVD player and slippers. And the closets are so roomy. You would think the larger cruise lines would get a clue. Our cabin steward was wonderful. I gave him the nickname stealthy because we never ever saw him yet no matter what time of day or night we left our room, when we returned it was spotless! And there were no bags of laundry cluttering the hallways. The service was exceptional, from the bar waiters who always remembered which wine you were drinking to the captain who has a wonderful sense of humor. I can't say enough wonderful things about the ship and its crew. And because this was a special sailing full of James Gang people, it was like a huge wine party at sea with 300 of our closest friends. Almost forgot about the food which was simply amazing. The wine pairing dinner our last night had so much food, I could only take one bite of the dessert. The onboard luau was wonderful and the specialty restaurant delicious. My only "complaint" is that they only let you sign up for one specialty restaurant per cruise, to give everyone a chance to experience them. If you've never cruised on a smaller ship because you thought it was cost prohibitive, I sincerly urge you to try Windstar. There is simply no comparison for the value you received compared to the larger mass market ships. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
We finally convinced 3 other couples to sample samller ship and compre it with their Mega ship experience and I truely think their choice in the future cruising will be on smaller ship. They were relaxed and enjoyed not having to deal with ... Read More
We finally convinced 3 other couples to sample samller ship and compre it with their Mega ship experience and I truely think their choice in the future cruising will be on smaller ship. They were relaxed and enjoyed not having to deal with masses throughout the cruise.We arrived in Rome 3 days in advance of embarkation and had enough time to enjoy the historical city and on the day of embarkation, we decided to hire a van to take us direct to the port, rasther than taking the train from Terimini. Spliting the cost 4 ways certainly made a difference in keepint the cost down and the fact that we would be taken direct to the dock. My wife and I have taken the train which is very inexpensive, but made a mistake of walking to the dock from the station, because it looked so close. Not worth it, Take a taxi!Embarkation was quick as usual, but we did wait in a holding tent for a while, since we arrived early, embarkation started right on time at 1pm. Our suite 331 was very comfortable, approximately 356 sqf, it is about the size of mid range suite with balcony on Mega ships. What WindStar had put their 2 standard cabins together which resulted in two of everything in the suite. Loved the double bathrooms and closets. I have cruised on Regent Mariner and their smallest cabin with balcony equaled our suite.We sailed on Surf to Western Med in 2007 and also on Star from Athens to Istanble 5 years ago which was our intro to cruising and we have not stopped. We definitely prefer small ships which includes SeaDream with 100.We sailed on time from Chivitavecchia for Capri which was our first ports of call, but when we returned to our cabin, after our dinner, there was a note fron the Captain that Capri was changed to Sorrento. Weather palyed a part in this change, because it was too windy for safe anchorage at Capri. It certainly was a disappointment, but we under stand how dangerous tender operation can be in bad weather. We arrived in Sorrento and some of us decided on Positano visit by  traveling through beautiful Amalfi coast. It was a wonderful day to remember.Our next port was Taorimina, Sicily and it was truely a hidden jewel not often mentioned among travelers I know. It was our favorite and would like to return one day to stay longer in this lovely city. It was a subject of conversation at the dinner table by many.Surf has 4 different dinning options, two of which were open air dinning. But because of windy weather with few sprinkles, it was only opened 1 or 2 nights I believe. Needless to say were not able to obtain reservation for neither.We had our dinners in the main dinning room which was fine, although we had one dinner in set menu dinning room and it was fine. But main dinning room menu selection was much more in variety and changed daily.Service was excellent.I puchased some bottles of wine in Rome and had no problem taking them onboard and $15 corkage was charged, when I took them into dinning room.We had one day at sea, on our way to Corfu, I must say it is not my favorite pass time, since i don't read much. But I managed to keepyself occupied. One word about all inclusive cruise compared to non. I have done both and really prefer non, now that I have done both. It is true, you're not nickled and dimed to death on inclusive ships, once you've paid the set amount. But can you justify the fare difference which on all inclusive can be up to $600-800 pp per day? Just how much alchoholic beverage can you drink? The dinning options are more elegant and of higher quality, even at that the difference is excessive. I don't mind signing for every drink or bottle water and soda, because I am not a heavt drinker or demand gurmet meals 3 times a day. Back to Surf. The windy condition resulted in some ideal anchorage spots not available for use and required shuttle transportation at couple of ports, but it was fine. One thing I did notice is that some passengers were complaining that cruiseship personnel were not organized with shuttle service. There should have been staff members present at both ends, rather than just the departure point. We were left to fend for ourselves, dealiing with contracted vendor who provided the transportation.After Corfu, we headed for Duvrovnik, Croatia, again we had to give up the best anchorage due to weather and shuttled in and had to find our tour guide who was waiting at the old port docking area. But we enjoyed our visit to this historical or once war torn city with very little signs of damages we witnessed on the news. Life goes on!Our final ports of call was Havar, Croatia, charming little island which easily can be mistaken for one of the Greek islands. Very short stay and it started to sprinkle as we left.I failed to mention earlier that the group of musicians who were onboard back in 2007 had just renewed their contract and were performing onboard. They remebered us and our favorite song and played it for us almost every night, very small thing, but to be recognized and renew friendship means a great deal for customer relationship and for repeat clients. On our final morning, we entered main channel for port of Venice, San Marcos Square was in full view and everybody was on deck for an amazing viewsDisembarkation was delayed a bit due to luggage handling delay, but other than it went smoothly. Our ship docked at the main channel dockage, rather than one of those slips at the main terminal. So we were further away from everything.We had to walk few blocks to the termianl and had very few options for hotel transfer. Main terminal had a free shuttle to Piazza Rome which was sort of centeral point for various transportation options, but non where we were, only very expensive water taxi. In hind sight, it turned out to be the best option, especially with bags. Venice is not baggage friendly city with bridges and uneven roads. So, if you decide to take care of ground transfer yourself, spen a few extra euros and save yourself a major headach. Take a water taxi and have them deliver you to your hotel, right to their front step. Read Less
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